It’s goodbye to Andrew Farress, longtime Wanstead resident and, for the past decade, manager of the Oxfam bookshop on Wanstead High Street. He’s leaving Wanstead to move with his partner to Taunton, Somerset, where he will be taking up a new role managing the Oxfam shop there.

Under his management, and with the support of volunteers and donors, the Wanstead shop has become one of Oxfam’s most successful and has helped raise hundreds of thousands for the charity. He has also been an enthusiastic supporter of the Wanstead Fringe, hosting several events in the shop over the years.

Good luck to Andrew, and thank you for your service.

Big poppy at King’s Cross. Not in Wanstead

The sale of poppies in Wanstead in the run-up to Remembrance Day is starting again this weekend for two weeks, returning to a more normal pattern of sales post-lockdown.

The details: All the shops on the High Street who normally sell poppies will do so, including Wanstead Station, Zoology,  Cafe Chi-Chi,  Daisy, Co-op, Harvey’s, Ginger Pig, Moments, Tesco, Nat West Bank, The Larder, Krishna News, Robins Pie and Mash, Heads and Tails, Toolbox, Snaresbrook News, Bare Brew, The Eagle, The Duke, The Nightingale and Snaresbrook Crown Court.

Street collections: Coordinator Susan Carroll says collectors will be on the High Street on two days – Friday 12th and Saturday 13th November. Scout groups will be joining in on the Saturday.

So completely back to normal? Not quite, says Susan. They are only being permitted the two days’ collection, whereas previously they had more: “It doesn’t seem particularly fair given that every other borough in the country has more time, but rules are rules and so we have to abide by them.”

Also: Poppy Man Jim, a longstanding seller, will this year be equipped with a card reader.

Culminating in: The traditional service of remembrance at the War Memorial on the High Street on Sunday 14 November.

The Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) expands on 25 October to include Wanstead, some of South Woodford, and everywhere within the North Circular A406.

This means: good news for residents who should be breathing cleaner air.

But it also means: extra expense for residents who have older cars which don’t pass the standards – they face:

  • paying £12.50 a day to drive into or around Wanstead
  • buying a less polluting vehicle, or
  • stopping driving

TFL says: “Toxic air pollution remains the biggest environmental health risk, worsening asthma, lung and heart disease. Pollution levels are now returning to pre-pandemic levels across the Capital.”

Will it work? In inner London, where the ULEZ zone started in 2019, the proportion of vehicles meeting the emissions standards rise from 39% to more than 80%. Roadside nitrogen dioxide has fallen by 44%.

The details: Vehicle number plates are recognised by cameras at the edge of the ULEZ zone but also within it, so driving a polluting vehicle completely within the zone will still incur a charge. Fees are paid online, and drivers can check if their vehicle qualifies here.

Wanstead resident Riku Fryderyk was eight years old when he was offered a book deal. He’s now 10 and his book, The Witching Hour, has just been published. He hopes it will help children who are afraid of the dark.

He will be signing copies on Saturday 30 October in the Larder.

His mum, Agnieszka, says: “In the book Riku wanted to help children who are afraid of the dark, however the the book might be serving a much greater purpose in helping parents opening important discussions with their children. 

“We tend to assume because children are little, therefore they do not understand what’s going on around them. What we forget, is that children absorb it all, they may not talk about it, they just observe what happens in the adults’ world and make their own interpretations of it and give their own meanings to it. Children need so much more these days to be able to see the light in the darkness. And Riku’s book is offering to them just that.”

  • Riku will be signing books at the Larder on Saturday 30 October from 1pm – 4.30pm. Copies will be on sale at the Larder. It will also be available at Wanstead Bookshop here.

Wes Streeting MP, whose constituency includes a sizeable chunk of Wansteadium readership, has spiked scurrilous rumours that a kebab was left festering unnoticed in his dinner jacket pocket for weeks.

He was said to have found the forgotten kebab when he took his suit out of the wardrobe. The Times ran the story in its diary column during the week, based on a student source.

But Wes tweeted that the story had been somewhat blown up – it was not a kebab in the pocket, he said, but rather just a stain on sleeve. That’s cleared that up.

From The Times on Tuesday